February 26, 2019 / 11:09 PM / 7 months ago

France says it wasn't informed on Dutch purchase of Air France KLM stake

FILE PHOTO: The Air France-KLM company logo is seen at the annual shareholder meeting in the La Defense business district in Puteaux, France, May 15, 2018. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - French Economy minister Bruno Le Maire on Tuesday said the government had not been informed of the Dutch government’s acquisition of Air France KLM shares in a surprise move destined to weigh in the carrier’s operations.

“I take note of this stake building by the Dutch government which took place without prior notice to the board of directors and the French government,” Le Maire told Les Echos newspaper. “I reaffirm my support to the strategy of the company and to its management,” Le Maire said, adding it was essential for Air France KLM to be “managed without national public interference.”

The Dutch government said on Tuesday it indented to take a stake in Air France KLM equal to that of the French government, which holds 14.29 percent of the combined company. Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said the state had already taken a 12.7 percent stake in AF KLM for 680 million euros ($774 million).

Reporting by Matthias Blamont;Editing by Leslie Adler

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